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Has anyone ever grown rice?

 
Alison Thomas
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Has anyone ever had a go at trying to grow rice without paddy fields and flooding?  I'm curious - we eat a LOT of rice and I'd love to be able to grow our own.  I've just bunged some into a pot of compost to see if they'll germinate 
 
Terri Matthews
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I grew some outside in the childrens plastic turtle sandbox.

The yeild was not great, but then it took me 3 tries to get the rice growing.

I started out twice trying to start the seedlings inside, but I got sickly plants that died. Either they died before I transplanted them or they did not grow after I transplanted them. Finaly in June I dumped the remainder of the seeds over the sick, yellowish plants and walked away, and those late sown plants took off, and they grew large and healthy.

I got some seeds off of those plants, which are in an envelope. If my growing season had been even a month longer I would have gotten rice off of all of the plants.

Apparently, rice plants like heat and summer. Since it is mostly warm now, today I dumped a shorter season variety of seeds into the turtle full of water and mud, and I hope to get enough for a bite to eat. These rice seeds are short and round instead of long-grained, and I bet they are delicious!

At any rate, the rice does not seem to mind the lack of drainage in the sandbox. No matter how hard it rains the rice does not mind being flooded for a week or so! I did remove some of the water at times, as I was worried about the plants, but they did fine while any weeds were sickly.  I DID have to watch them during hot weather, as the rice did NOT! like the soil dry at all: it wilted where most potted plants would not.

This is not a family sized plot of rice, but rice is not usually grown and so I thought that I would share what I know.

I bought *THIS* years rice seed from Kitazawa seeds in Oakland California. I bought Koshihikari variety, which is kept under water as it grows and it has a 160 day time to maturity.
 
John Polk
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In Asia, rice fields are flooded for two distinct reasons.  The flooding does not help the rice grow.  It suppresses weeds.  And, Asian rice fields are duo-culture: they raise eels in the flooded fields.  When the fields are drained, they get a rice crop, AND a nice harvest of eels.  Rice will grow well in non-flooded fields, but you do need to make certain that the soil does not dry out if you want a decent harvest.  I'm sure that the eels help fertilize the rice also.

 
Alison Thomas
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Thank you both.  OK I won't flood it as I can weed and I'm not keen on eels but I'll mind to keep the soil damp.  I'll watch and wait like a good permaculturalist does 
 
Alison Thomas
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Woohoo it's germinated and about 1.5cm high (just over half an inch) 

We have a large old plastic hydroponics trough that we gave to the pigs as a water feeder. They thought it was better as a bath and broke it by piercing the bottom.  So guess what - I'm going to grow our rice in it 
 
Willy Kerlang
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I was just wondering this very thing the other day.  I just read One Straw Revolution (new to this site, so not sure if this book ever gets discussed, but it's amazing) and in that book Masanobu Fukuoka says that it is not necessary at all to grow rice in water, and in fact it is not healthy for it.  Especially not in stagnant water, as is probably the case in the turtle sandbox.  I was also just reading Rodale's on the subject this morning and they say that rice can be grown in the same manner as corn.  So, if you can grow corn, apparently you can grow rice.

I just decided the other day to sow some rice in my little fishpond.  I threw some grains in around the shallow ends.  I have three goldfish in there and I see they are leaving the rice alone.  I hope it will provide them with some nice cover and nutrients/O2 when the plants grow, and they will fertilize the plants in return.
 
Alison Thomas
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That's cool Willy.  And Fukuoka, what can I say, SUCH an inspiration.  Yes he's talked about a LOT here, in fact there's a thread dedicated to his way of farming - just click on the highlighted Masanobu Fukuoka and you'll go straight there. And welcome 
 
Jordan Lowery
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ive listened to that podcast hugel, thats what got me started on this rice growing trip along with whats called SRI farming.

i am going to be trying to grow some this year, hopefully it goes well.
 
maikeru sumi-e
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Willy_K wrote:
I was just wondering this very thing the other day.  I just read One Straw Revolution (new to this site, so not sure if this book ever gets discussed, but it's amazing) and in that book Masanobu Fukuoka says that it is not necessary at all to grow rice in water, and in fact it is not healthy for it.  Especially not in stagnant water, as is probably the case in the turtle sandbox.  I was also just reading Rodale's on the subject this morning and they say that rice can be grown in the same manner as corn.  So, if you can grow corn, apparently you can grow rice.

I just decided the other day to sow some rice in my little fishpond.  I threw some grains in around the shallow ends.  I have three goldfish in there and I see they are leaving the rice alone.  I hope it will provide them with some nice cover and nutrients/O2 when the plants grow, and they will fertilize the plants in return.


Hi welcome, Willy. There is an extraordinary diversity and variety within types of rice, like the diversity within corn/maize, so it might be a bit too general to say that if one can grow corn, one can grow rice in a similar fashion. It is best to find what type/variety is well adapted or could be adapted to your location and land.
 
Willy Kerlang
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I'm sure you're right, Maikeru.  I'm just repeating Rodale's.  But it makes more sense to say that if you live somewhere you can grow corn, then there is probably a variety of rice that will succeed there as well.  They didn't specify which kinds do best where.  I look forward to finding out someday!
 
maikeru sumi-e
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Willy_K wrote:
I'm sure you're right, Maikeru.  I'm just repeating Rodale's.  But it makes more sense to say that if you live somewhere you can grow corn, then there is probably a variety of rice that will succeed there as well.  They didn't specify which kinds do best where.  I look forward to finding out someday!


Also be careful of which varieties you may get. Most rice varieties available now, perhaps 75% of the varieties in Asia, are "Green Revolution" or GM varieties, and would probably fair poorly without regular applications of fertilizer and pesticides (which is exactly what we don't want!).
 
josh brill
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We are growing out our seed supply this year with the research seed we got from the USDA.  Over the next few years we will be selectively planting for rice that performs well in vermont.
 
Willy Kerlang
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jbreezy wrote:
We are growing out our seed supply this year with the research seed we got from the USDA.  Over the next few years we will be selectively planting for rice that performs well in vermont.


Any tips on how to find a variety that will do well in south shore Nova Scotia?  I suspect our winters are milder than yours, thanks to the Gulf stream.  But a strain that was successful in Vermont would be great here too.
 
philip Wick
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New reply to old link. Fedco in Maine is offering rice this year. I live in ct and last year I tried to grow in a bucket. Although the vegetative growth was good, it never had a chance to make grain. My garden is high and fairly droughty. Near where I grew corn, I planted a few rice seeds at the head of each row and there the rice did grow. I got a good sized handful of seed to try this year. Not sure where I got last year's rice from.
 
Jordan Lowery
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I'd like to update that I grew rice last year in a small test plot. I did it without constant flooding. But used flooding for irrigation every few weeks. The yield was good for such a tiny plot. This year i have a bigger area and am shooting for 100-150 lbs. The variety was short grain brown rice.
 
Alison Thomas
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I only kept the compost damp - no flooding. Mine grew nicely and headed up. But no grains - I'm putting that down to it being a sterile F1 hybrid seed stock. But good to know that if I had some non-hybrid seed then it would work and the yield would be quite good.
 
Adrien Lapointe
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Tought some of you on this thread might be interested in the research done by the people at Whole Systems Design on growing rice in Vermont (http://www.wholesystemsdesign.com/rice-paddy-agriculture-vermont/)
 
Jordan Lowery
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Growing rice again this year, purple rice that is. Ive found that duck poop water makes rice grow very well.
 
Terri Matthews
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We had a terrible heat wave this year, and it went on for months! And, my washtub full of rice is heading up!

I suspect that climate is a biggie with rice!
 
Walter Jeffries
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I haven't grown rice but I've wondered. I saw this article about someone in Vermont growing rice:

http://www.7dvt.com/2011vermont-rice
 
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